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February 24, 2020 Jeremy Boren

Ultra Secure IoT, Cybersecurity Survey, Smucker’s Plant Honored

Rice University Researchers Design IoT Devices 14,000x More Secure


Rice University researches are developing a way to protect IoT devices from so-called side-channel attacks, according to Popular Mechanics.

Side-channel attacks occur when an attacker exploits electromagnetic field radiation from a device to compromise the device’s security. One of the reasons this type of attack is so worrisome is that an attacker can carry it out simply be being in the vicinity of the device.

The scientists discovered they could use power regulators to obfuscate information that’s otherwise leaked through the power consumption of encryption circuits, which bad actors may pick up on in one of those van attacks.

Ultimately, Rice researchers want to work directly with device manufacturers to implement the security measures as part of their production, so modifications to improve security aren’t required after the fact.

Survey: Ransomware is the Biggest Threat, and It’s not Even Close

GrayMatter invited cybersecurity professionals to share their priorities, challenges and security solutions for 2020. Now we’re sharing the results with security pros in manufacturing, oil and gas and other industries.

The Results

·      Ransomware easily topped phishing, data leaks and internal threats as the most pressing cyber threat in 2020.

·      More than 95% “agree” or “strongly agree” IT and OT demand distinct cybersecurity strategies.

·      Respondents split on the Yes/No question of whether they have a dedicated budget to address OT cyber needs.

·      Deception technologies (think: honeypots) are under consideration for about 28% of survey respondents.

·      Nearly 82% say legacy operating systems still pose a cybersecurity risk.

·      “Budget” and “Personnel” constraints were the most frequently cited obstacles to acquiring additional resources to address OT cybersecurity needs.

o   Other challenges: Educating the C-suite about risks; defining ROI when a company hasn’t faced an actual attack; lack of executive-level support

·      Over 97% say an OT cyber assessment is important to highlight potential risks, and 23 percent say they have an assessment underway.

·      Nearly half say ransomware, a data leak, phishing scam or “all of the above” have affected their companies in the past 12 months.

o   Thankfully, it also means 51% haven’t been affected in the past year.

·      Intrusion Detection, Anti-Malware and Firewall technologies top the list of biggest cybersecurity technology investments this year.

For the full report, and to learn more, visit GrayMatter’s OT Cybersecurity Survey.

Economic Indicators Show an Uptick in the Manufacturing Sector

Manufacturing is having a moment in the first quarter of 2020.

Labor statistics show that manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic Region has moved to a three-year high and the Federal Reserve expects economic growth to continue at a moderate pace.

All of that is good news for manufacturing, which makes up about 11 percent of the U.S. economy.

As CNBC reports, America’s manufacturing recession looks like it could be over:

Early in the week, New York’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey for general business conditions posted a reading of 12.9, up 8 points from January and its best level since May. New orders surged to 22.1, the highest since September 2017, and shipments rose to 18.9, the best since November 2018.

On Thursday, the Philadelphia survey exploded 20 points higher to 36.7, the highest since February 2017. New orders hit their highest since May 2018.


There’s still plenty of concern about trade headwinds in the sector, and economists point out that there’s still room to improve from the 2008 recession. However, many manufacturing sector observers are finding reasons to be optimistic.

Smucker’s Wins 2020 Food Engineering Plant of the Year

Food Engineering Magazine reports that Smucker’s new Longmont, Colo., facility, which produces the brand’s Uncrustables frozen sandwiches, is the top food engineering plant of the year.

According to the magazine, “The 432,000-sq.-ft. plant was designed and built by Dennis Group. The plant came online in June of 2019 and can produce 280 million Uncrustables frozen sandwiches annually.”

“Another line will begin operation in 2020 to bring capacity to 420 million Uncrustables, with future plans to double capacity. The plant produces 20,000 lbs. of dough every hour, making it the largest single-line bakery in the world.”

The plant be featured in the April edition of the magazine, and Smucker’s will receive the award at the the annual Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference April 26-29 at the Doral Resort in Miami.

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Jeremy Boren

Jeremy is GrayMatter's Brand Manager and the author of TechHub and the emPOWERUP Podcast. He writes about digital solutions, trends and culture in the world of operational technology. Jeremy's background is in daily journalism. He has a passion for storytelling and enjoys highlighting the technologies and professionals taking on complex challenges in manufacturing, energy, cybersecurity and infrastructure.